Simdega, an aspirational district in Jharkhand, is reeling with happy students. The reason - 60 community libraries that are meant not just for students, but also for every citizen of the district. The community libraries in Simdega is one of many initiatives supported by the NITI Aayog towards improvement in education and awareness.
The libraries have been stocked with books ranging from children literature to works of great authors like Premchand and Shakespeare. The books have slowly piqued interest among the people in the district, specially school children, and have become an important tool for teachers who are innovating with the aide of the books to improve upon the learning outcomes for children.
ऐसा देस है मेरा ????????#AspirationalDistrict Simdega has established 60 community libraries and dedicated them to the martyrs of Uri and Pulwama.— NITI Aayog (@NITIAayog) August 15, 2019
To inculcate a reading habit, these libraries are open for students & every citizen of the district. #VikasKiNITIpic.twitter.com/yVRYypvbdM
The idea to open libraries was initially discussed between the former DC of Simdega, Mr. Jatashankar Chaudhary and IAS Ananya Mittal, who jointly spearheaded the project in the district, as a way to address educational deficiencies in the district.
Speaking on phone from Ranchi where Mr. Ananya Mittal is currently posted, he said that opening of libraries was a calculated measure taken to address the issue of lack of education, awareness, and employment in the most backward areas of the district.
One of the vital issues that libraries face is lack of a reading culture and sustenance down the line. On this issue, the district administration, as related by Mr. Ananya Mittal, had done its homework.
Before opening the libraries, the district administration conducted surveys of schools and adjoining areas with the aid of Aspirational District Fellows, Biswambhar Naik and Satwik Mishra, to determine the viability of opening community libraries.
After careful research the modus operandi adopted was to divide schools in clusters, with each cluster having about 12 schools. One teacher was selected for each cluster whose job it would be to conduct activities to promote reading as a leisure activity and improve footfall at the libraries.
While it's not been a long time since the libraries became functional, teachers have already begun to see improvement among students. Reading sessions have become a regular affair where not only school children but adults could be seen participating too.
School students reading books borrowed from a community library in Simdega
The books, globe, maps, and dictionaries for the community libraries in Simdega were provided by Sarvahitey, a Delhi-based NGO, who are also helping in monitoring of libraries. The libraries have been dedicated to the martyrs of Uri and Pulwama.
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